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Friday, March 31, 2017

Conservatives Wanted An Improved Healthcare System, Not A Warmed Over, Work Around The Edges Plan

Don’t blame conservatives

A good friend of mine burned my ears off with a rant about the evils of “far right” conservatives and the “Freedom Caucus.” A self-described “Trump Girl” — I’m fairly certain she owns more “MAGA” clothing than I own rounds for my AR — she had whipped herself in a holy fury over her targets’ role in the public execution of the American Healthcare Act.
“What was the point of November? We finally get the chance to toss Obamacare in the trash, and these guys blow it! Thanks to Obamacare, (her family’s) premiums are higher than our mortgage payment! Are these clowns going to pay them? No? Then what the are they doing?!?”
And that’s when I stepped in it. “Their jobs!” I brightly responded. Even as the words headed out, I knew I was gonna get both barrels. “Their jobs?!? Their jobs are to get rid of that idiotic law, so people like me don’t have to feed our kids chicken nuggets so we can afford the doctor’s office!  Do you realize how much time and money two kids under 12 can make you spend in the doctor’s office?”
I must admit, I had no idea. I do know that thanks to an impressive bill of misadventures, my parents claim that my brothers and I probably put our orthopedic doctor’s children through college. I also know that my friend’s kids seem less rambunctious than we were, but that could just be my age blurring my perspective. But even if they’re the same midget terrorists who turned my mother’s hair that lovely shade of white, monthly insurance payments high enough to send her kids to an Ivy League school are excessive; especially considering they used to be more manageable, like the mortgage on a vacation condo in Destin.
Sez me: “What Trump and Ryan came up with wasn’t better than Obamacare; it was just different. Your premiums wouldn’t have dropped much, if at all. They even left in the non-payment penalty, (one of the most odious of Obamacare’s oppressions). All the AHCA really did was take Obamacare and add a few syllables. I thought a full repeal was what we wanted.”
Said she, with that “look” only moms have that translates to “Go ahead and test me:” “Yeah? Great. We got neither.”
She’s partially right. We got neither. But the Freedom Caucus isn’t to blame. No serious human thinks Obamacare was a solution to anything other than “how to cripple both the middle class’s financial security and the quality of healthcare in one bill?” Given that “Trump-RyanCare (“Tryancare?)” did nothing to cure the pre-existing condition that is Obamacare, it’s flat wrong to blame the guys who said “wrong!” for the right reasons.
Not only did the AHCA preserve its intended predecessor’s non-payment penalty with a differently imposed non-payment penalty, it preserved Obamacare’s ridiculous “essential health benefits.” People like my friend are still forced to choose between a dwindling number of plans which cover conditions she isn’t likely to encounter. I’m confident her two children aren’t candidates for “gender reassignment surgery.” And the look she gets when her kids have done something that makes me glad I don’t have kids tells me no one in her family will be needing infertility treatments any time soon. Trump/Ryancare offered no relief from the onerous financial impositions of Obamacare. More importantly, it failed to offer the one thing that would alleviate most — if not all — of the cost and provision problems with our current system: free market insurance sales.
Until that door is opened, Americans will continue to see a choice between plans which cover a host of conditions with which they’ll never contend, at prices steep enough to cover Michael Moore’s grocery bills; or plans which barely cover the kind of “care” you’d get in Tijuana, at prices which are still steep enough to cover Moore’s afternoon snack budget.
President Trump, and people like my friend, blame conservatives for sinking the AHCA. Trump even declared “The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!” But blaming conservative House members for refusing to go along with a scam is like blaming the bank security guard for refusing to drive the getaway car. Any legitimate healthcare reform will require actual reform. The AHCA included none.  If Trump wants to get around the Democrat Party’s mindless partisan refusals, he needs to give conservatives something on which they can agree, and not just blame them when he doesn’t.
— Ben Crystal